This spring, Sub Pop Records will open up a shop in the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Last week, the iconic indie label quietly put out a “Help Wanted” ad for an “organized and self-motivating Retail Store Manager” to run the new operation, which we assume would include vinyl, CDs, and a whole bunch of merch from their roster and possible partners. Their online Mega Mart additionally sells tees, posters, hats, backpacks, skateboards, beer glasses, totes, and more.
The label launched a pop-up version of that store in 2013 in honor of their 25th anniversary Silver Jubilee. The temporary space was equal parts museum and record shop, with a Sub Pop gumball machine, and a “Button-O-Matic” pin dispenser.
If it hadn’t been for Johnny Depp, Paul McCartney might never have won a Grammy for Best Rock Song with the surviving members of Nirvana.
That’s precisely what happened a little over a week ago at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, when the former Beatle ended up onstage with Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear to accept the hardware for their collaboration, “Cut Me Some Slack.”
“I blame Johnny Depp,” McCartney explained to a group of reporters gathered at the Staples Center’s media room. “Because he’d just given me this little cigar box guitar, which I was wildly excited about, so I took it along [to the studio].”
Before recording “Cut Me Some Slack,” he’d had a few interactions with McCartney, but the Foo Fighters frontman was still a bit nervous about asking one of his musical idols to come in for a recording session. So he gently suggested that McCartney drop by to jam next time he was in Los Angeles.
McCartney agreed—and insisted on working on new material. An elated Grohl told the singer he’d have “a couple of friends coming along to the studio.” Those two pals happened to be former Nirvana bassist Novoselic and Smear, who toured with the band and went on to become part of the Foo Fighters with Grohl.
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Kurt Cobain claimed that most of the lyrics for their 1989 Bleach album were written the night before recording while he was feeling “pissed off”, and that he did not regard them highly. In the end, producer Jack Endino billed the band thirty hours of recording at $606.17.
“School”, the second song on Bleach, features only four lines of lyrics, and was a critique of the Seattle music scene, particularly Sub Pop.
“On a Plain” was written by Kurt Cobain in 1990. It was first recorded in the studio on January 1, 1991 by Craig Montgomery in Seattle, Washington, and ended up the second-to-last song on their Nevermind album.
http://youtu.be/rBSXgCuvZ5Y (on a plain)
Mario Wienerroither recently stripped all of the music out of the music video “Firestarter” by The Prodigy. He then dubbed over the music video with all sorts of strange sounds and minimal vocals from lead singer Keith Flint to create one awesome video.
He did the same thing for Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”:
…and Queen’s “I Want To Break Free”:
Lego Albums has recreated all of your favorite albums, little brick by little brick.
Top row: Chester Bennington (Linkin Park), Tom Morello (Rage Aginst The Machine), Tom Araya (Slayer), Alice Cooper, Axl Rose (Guns ‘n’ Roses), Corey Taylor (Slipknot).
Middle row: Daron Malakian (System Of A Down), Dimebag Darrell (Pantera), Eddie Van Halen (Van Halen), Gene Simmons (Kiss), James Hetfield (Metallica), Jonathan Davis (Korn).
Bottom row: Kirk Hammett (Metallica), Kurt Cobain (Nirvana), Marilyn Manson, Slash (Guns ‘n’ Roses), Steve Tyler (Aerosmith), Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society).
This is part 11 of an ongoing series where the kind folk of the music business reveal their favourite album of all time.
Ask people in the music industry the seemingly simple and straightforward question, “What is your favourite album of all time?” and you’ll find that it’s not always easy. After all, my industry peers listen to hundreds of albums a month – thousands of songs during that time. Because the question isn’t the best album of all time – the one that’s made them the most money in sales – but the one release they personally can’t live without, that one title they have two copies of in several formats, in case one breaks. It’s also about that album that for them has the best back stories and the one that has the most meaning in their lives.
Traci LaTrelle- Radio Veteran of over 20 years with stints in Norfolk, Va., Raleigh, NC, New Orleans, Miami and currently MD at WHUR in Washington, DC.
Voodoo, D’Angelo; Rejoice, The Emotions
My favorite albums are “Voodoo” by D’Angelo because of the incredibly funky vibe that I can zone out on J Also, The Emotions- “Rejoice” Album because of their LOVELY voices and heartfelt lyrics on every song. Even though it was a such a mature album, I would sit on the floor in my living room at age 9 or 10 and sing my heart out honey!
Scott Kahn, Founder and Editor-In-Chief of MusicPlayers.com, the popular online magazine for serious musicians, and is a professional guitar player formerly from the award-winning progressive rock band, Days Before Tomorrow, and founder of the melodic modern/prog rock Beyond Tomorrow, whose debut album arrives in the fall of 2013.
Elemental, Tears For Fears; Deadwing, Porcupine Tree
Deadwing It’s a modern classic that combines extraordinary musicianship with a great sense of melody. I love most of the Porcupine Tree music catalog, but this one is a perfect starting point for anyone who doesn’t know much about the band. If I were stranded on a desert island with only a single album, this one covers a variety of rock and prog styles to keep things interesting as long as possible. Tears For Fears’ Elemental is from an exceptional band that moved light years beyond their new wave origin, and Roland Orzobal’s Beatles influence became more and more evident through later releases in the ’90s and ’00s. But Elemental captures an amazing blend of pop, rock, electronic, and progressive styles with layers of lush synthesizer beds, hard edged guitars as well as classic/vintage playing, and brilliant vocal work. It’s an album I’ve listened to a thousand times, always come back to it, and always recommend it. It has been hugely influential to me as a songwriter and musician.
Sean “Rabbi” Tyszler, Music Director for Philadelphia’s WMMR
Before Nirvana I was only listening to hair bands and metal. They opened a whole new world of Alternative and Classic Rock. I really started getting into music and my goal was to work at a rock radio station. When I got the super-deluxe edition of the album it was a huge thrill for me.
Devon Leger, HearthPR/Hearth Music
Underwood, The Kitchen Syncopators
This album was the moment when I realized how powerful and beautiful American roots music can be. It’s the moment when an album became a magical thing for me. It’s the moment when I started to hoard music, but also the moment when I realized everyone I knew needed to know about this. The Kitchen Syncopators were a kickass busking jugband from Eugene, Oregon, known in small circles and obsessed over by a few others, but lead singer Gill Landry was destined for more. He’s a key member of Old Crow Medicine Show now, touring the world over and singing his same original songs tinged with the flavors of New Orleans mornings and Northwest afternoons. This album is so out of print now that not even the internet knows about it. Realizing that music this beautiful won’t be heard except for by a select few was a key moment in my decision to become a music publicist.
Hollywood Hernandez, Program Director for “The Touch” Cumulus Media Networks’ 24 Hour Urban A/C format
All ‘N All, Earth, Wind and Fire
I used to listen to it back in my high school days (when my mom wasn’t home) and I listened to it LOUD! “Serpentine Fire” was the first cut on the album and those horns were kickin’! Then my most memorable cuts were “Fantasy”, with Phillip Bailey’s incredible falsetto vocals, “Love’s Holiday”, “I’ll Write a Song for You”, “Brazilian Rhyme” and wrapping up with “Be Ever Wonderful”! That album made me fall in love with real R&B and Soul music. I’ve still never heard an album as good.
Today, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announces its Inductees for 2014. The Inductees are:
• Peter Gabriel
• Hall and Oates
• Linda Ronstadt
• Cat Stevens
Ahmet Ertegun Awards:
• Brian Epstein
• Andrew Loog Oldham
The Award for Musical Excellence:
• The E Street Band
The 29th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place on Thursday, April 10, 2014 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The 2014 Ceremony will again be open to the public, as it has been for the Induction Ceremonies in Cleveland (2009, 2012) and Los Angeles (2013). This will be the first time that the ceremony will be open to the public in New York.
“This year’s Hall of Fame Inductees really capture the passion of the fans,” said Joel Peresman, President and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. “We’re thrilled to again be able to have the fans be a part of the show, especially as we bring the ceremony to Barclays Center and partner again with HBO and Playtone.”
“Brooklyn has always been a hotbed for rock and roll and we’re proud to continue that tradition by hosting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony,” said Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark. “Barclays Center has hosted many of the world’s biggest artists and we are looking forward to welcoming the new Inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as we celebrate for the first time ever in Brooklyn.”
Tickets will go on sale to the public in January. A pre-sale for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members will take place in advance of the public on-sale date. To be eligible for the member pre-sale, you must be an active Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum member by December 31, 2013 at 11:59 PM EST. Exact sale dates will be announced in January. Details at www.rockhall.com.
The 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Performer Inductees were chosen by more than 700 voters of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. Artists are eligible for inclusion in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25 years after the release of their first recording.
For this year’s Inductions, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame again offered fans the opportunity to officially participate in the selection process. The public was able to cast votes online for who they believe to be most deserving of induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The top five artists, as selected by the public, comprised a “fans’ ballot” that was tallied along with the other ballots to choose the 2014 Inductees. Three of the top five artists from the fans ballot will be inducted in 2014.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, will also open a special exhibit on the 2014 Inductees in conjunction with the 2014 Induction Ceremony. The Museum is a nonprofit organization that tells the story of rock and roll’s cultural influence through its exhibits, public events, educational programs and a world-class Library and Archives.
For more information on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, visit www.rockhall.com.
About the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees:
Peter Gabriel’s influence is so widespread we may take it for granted. When the rest of rock was simplifying in the new wave days, the former Genesis frontman blended synthesizers and a signature gated drum sound with an emotional honesty learned from soul music to create a sensibility that would influence artists from U2 and Arcade Fire to Depeche Mode. With extraordinary ambition, Gabriel transitioned from cult artist to multimedia pop star to global rock icon. His WOMAD festival has been a 33-year laboratory for musical cross-pollination. The epic song “Biko” directly inspired the Artists Against Apartheid movement as he spearheaded the Amnesty International A Conspiracy Of Hope and Human Rights Now tours. His brilliant stage shows inspired U2’s and Flaming Lips’ and expanded the visual vocabulary of music videos with clips such as “Sledgehammer,” “Shock The Monkey” and “Big Time.” In addition, he wrote songs like “Don’t Give Up,” “Red Rain” and “In Your Eyes” that put heart and soul on the radio at a time when those values were in short supply. Four decades on as a solo artist, Gabriel continues to push the boundaries of popular music and challenge audiences across the globe.
Hall and Oates
Daryl Hall and John Oates created an original mix of soul and rock that made them the most successful pop duo in history. As songwriters, singers, and producers, they embraced the pop mainstream, bringing passion and creativity back to the 3-minute single. Over the course of their career, they have recorded six Number One hits and put 34 songs in the Billboard Top 100. Deeply rooted in lush Philly soul, Hall and Oates mixed smooth vocal harmonies and the romantic vulnerability of soul with edgy hard rock and new wave riffs to create some of the finest pop music of the 1980s. They teamed up in the early 1970s in Philadelphia, and landed a deal with Atlantic. On their first three albums they searched for the right style for their talents as they experimented with soul, folk and hard rock. They finally hit with “Sara Smile” in 1976, an irresistible sexy soul ballad that showcased their vocals, songwriting and guitar playing. After their subsequent string of hits (“Rich Girl,” “She’s Gone,” “Wait For Me”) they were energized by new wave and dance music. The result was an incredible run of original songs that topped the pop and R&B charts throughout the 1980s: “Kiss On My List,” “Private Eyes,” “You Make My Dreams” and “I Can’t Go For That” combined the best of both rock and R&B, setting the stage for the important crossover work of Madonna and Prince. They continue to record and attract new young audiences, and their influence can be felt in the work of contemporary artists like Bruno Mars and Justin Timberlake.
Few bands short of the Beatles inspired more kids to pick up the guitar than KISS. With their signature makeup, explosive stage show and anthems like “Rock And Roll All Nite” and “Detroit Rock City,” they are the very personification of rock stars. Original members Peter Criss, Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons came together in New York in 1972. While their first two records did not generate many sales, they quickly gained a national following for their bombastic, pyro-filled stage show. Their 1975 live disc Alive! captured that energy and reached Number Nine on the charts, quickly making them one of the most popular bands of the 1970s – scoring countless hit singles, sold-out tours and appearing everywhere from comic books to lunch boxes to their very own TV movie. Frehley and Criss left in the early 1980s and the group took their make-up off for 1983’s Lick It Up. They continued to be a popular live draw, but in 1996 the original quartet reformed (and they put their makeup back on) and KISS mania was reborn. In 2009, KISS released Sonic Boom, their first album of new material in 11 years. They released Monster in 2012.
It only takes one song to start a rock revolution. That trigger, in late 1991, was “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” an exhilarating blast of punk-rock confrontation by Nirvana, a scruffy trio from Seattle. “Teen Spirit,” its moshpit-party video and Nirvana’s kinetic live shows propelled their second album, Nevermind, to Number One and turned singer-guitarist-songwriter Kurt Cobain into the voice and conscience of an alternative-rock nation sick of hair metal and the conservative grip of the Reagan-Bush ‘80s. Founded by Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic in the logging town of Aberdeen, Washington, Nirvana were underground stars when they made 1989’s Bleach with drummer Chad Channing. Moving from the indie Sub Pop label to Geffen, the band – with drummer Dave Grohl – packed Cobain’s corrosive riffs, emotionally acute writing and twin passions for the Beatles and post-punk bands like the Melvins and the Pixies into Nevermind. A multi-platinum seller, it included the hits “Come As You Are” and “Lithium” and opened the mainstream gates for Green Day, Pearl Jam and Smashing Pumpkins. In 1993, Nirvana released the caustic masterpiece, In Utero, and gave a historic performance on MTV’s Unplugged. But in April 1994, Cobain – suffering from drug addiction and severe doubts about his stardom – took his own life. Like Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison, Cobain was 27, in his creative prime, when he died. Also like them, he and Nirvana remain an enduring influence and challenge – proof that the right band with the right noise can change the world.
Linda Ronstadt dominated popular music in the 1970s with a voice of tremendous range and power. She was one of the most important voices in the creation of country rock, in part because she understood how to sing traditional country songs like “Silver Threads And Golden Needles.” She regularly crossed over to the country charts in the ’70s, a rarity for rock singers. Working with producer Peter Asher, Ronstadt crafted a repertoire of songs that roamed throughout rock history that she interpreted with beautiful, precise phrasing. Ronstadt was especially good at singing early rock and roll; she had a long string of hits that revived interest in rock’s pioneers: Roy Orbison’s “Blue Bayou,” The Everly Brothers “When Will I Be Loved” and Buddy Holly’s “That’ll Be The Day” among them. She was equally comfortable with Motown music and the beginning of new wave. Her finest work was the run of four consecutive platinum albums in the mid 70s: Heart Like A Wheel (1974), Prisoner In Disguise (1975), Hasten Down The Wind (1976) and Simple Dreams (1977). In the 1980s, she expanded her musical vocabulary by recording songs from the classic American songbook (What’s New, Lush Life) and Mexican music that she heard growing up in Tucson, Arizona (Canciones De Mi Padre). That work proved as successful as her rock albums; she is the only artist to win a Grammy Award in the categories of pop, country, Mexican American and Tropical Latin. That diversity reflects her approach to singing: she was always looking for the best song, regardless of category.
The musical odyssey of Cat Stevens is well documented, from teenage London art school songsmith (“The First Cut Is The Deepest,” the Tremeloes’ “Here Comes My Baby”) to introspective cornerstone of the 1970s singer-songwriter movement. Who can measure the courage it took him in the late ’70s, after seven years of multi-platinum success in the U.S. (and over a decade in the UK) to convert to Islam, amidst the wave of turmoil and confusion that was engulfing the world? He left his touring and recording life behind and named himself Yusuf Islam. Inevitably, many longtime fans abandoned him, and he found certain international borders closed and worse yet, controversies on his doorstep despite his humanist background. It was 17 difficult years between his final LP as Cat Stevens (1978’s Back To Earth), and the first CD as Yusuf and more than a decade until his first pop album in nearly 30 years (An Other Cup in 2006). “When I accepted Islam,” he told Rolling Stone, “a lot of people couldn’t understand. To my fans it seemed that my entering Islam was the direct cause of me leaving the music business, so many people were upset. However, I had found the spiritual home I’d been seeking for most of my life. And if you listen to my music and lyrics, like ‘Peace Train’ and ‘On The Road To Find Out,’ it clearly shows my yearning for direction and the spiritual path I was travelling.” The musical gifts that he has shared with the world are an important chapter in rock history – a beacon of hope that will never be extinguished.
Brian Epstein served as the Beatles manager from January 1962 until his death in 1967 and helped shape a vision for a modern rock and roll band. Born in Liverpool in 1934, Epstein first got involved in the music business when he took over the record department of his family’s music store, NEMS. His devotion to making the store a success transformed it into an essential gathering place for the young people of Northern England who sought to stay current with pop music. It was at NEMS that Epstein first became aware of the Beatles.
Epstein immediately recognized the Beatles’ potential as performers and recording artists. He signed them to a management contract in early 1962, and was the driving force behind getting the band a recording contract with Parlophone later that year. Epstein’s keen eye for style and fashion helped shape a unique, charismatic identity for the band. Although Epstein didn’t always make the best business decisions for the band in the nascent rock and roll industry, his management style forged success for the Beatles, and he was completely dedicated to the band. Paul McCartney said: “If anyone was the fifth Beatle it was Brian. People talked about George Martin as being the fifth Beatle because of his musical involvement but, particularly in the early days, Brian was very much part of the group.”
Epstein went on to sign a large stable of Liverpool artists in the wake of the Beatles success, including Gerry and the Pacemakers, Cilla Black, and Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, but his first priority was always the Beatles. After the Beatles stopped touring in August 1966 and focused their work in the studio, Epstein had fewer responsibilities with the band, fell into drug addiction and died of an overdose in August 1967.
Andrew Loog Oldham
Andrew Loog Oldham is best known as the manager who helped propel the Rolling Stones to worldwide stardom and crafted their bad boy image so well it became both their brand and burden. As the Rolling Stones producer of record and the man who pushed Mick Jagger and Keith Richards to create original material, he helped shepherd a run of landmark recordings that continues to bear influence a half-century later.
Born in London on January 29, 1944, Oldham was raised by his eccentric single mother having lost his father in World War II, several months before his birth. Music and film, as well as his experience with class and the English school system, shaped Oldham’s sense of style and led to working for pioneering British designer Mary Quant. Oldham’s precocious nature was tailor made for the fashion world, but an even better fit for the music business. Working publicity for producer Joe Meek and for Brian Epstein’s NEMS stable of artists, which included the Beatles, he heard about new, young rhythm and blues bands who were rapidly gaining an audience. In short order, he began to manage the Rolling Stones, working with the group until 1967.
Oldham’s U.K.–based record label, Immediate Records, was one of the coolest of the ‘60s, and released recordings by Small Faces, Rod Stewart, John Mayall, the Nice and the McCoys, among others. Oldham continued to produce records throughout the 1970s and ‘80s, and later authored an acclaimed two-volume autobiography that stands among the most fantastically vivid firsthand accounts of the 1960s.
The E Street Band
Bruce Springsteen formed the E Street Band in 1973, after he landed a recording contract with Columbia Records. Springsteen played with the musicians who became the E Street Band in various Asbury Park–based groups in the late 1960s and early 70s. The first lineup of the band – Garry Tallent on bass, Danny Federici on organ, David Sancious on piano, Vini Lopez on drums and Clarence “Big Man” Clemons on saxophone – logged many miles on the road, helping to establish Springsteen’s legendary reputation as one of the greatest performers in the history of rock and roll. In 1974, drummer Max Weinberg and pianist Roy Bittan replaced Lopez and Sancious, and in 1975, during the recording of Springsteen’s breakout album Born to Run, “Miami” Steve Van Zandt, who Springsteen had known since he was a teenager and who had been in a number of bands with Springsteen, joined the fold on guitar. That lineup of the band backed Springsteen on three of his most critically acclaimed and beloved albums: Born to Run, Darkness on the Edge of Town and The River, and backed him live as he moved from clubs to arenas to stadiums.
When Steve Van Zandt left to pursue a solo career in the early 1980s, singer Patti Scialfa joined on vocals and Nils Lofgren, one of rock’s greatest guitarists, joined on guitar, and the band backed Springsteen on his explosive worldwide tour in support of Born in the U.S.A. in 1984-85. Springsteen did not work with the band for much of the 1990s, but reunited them in 1999 in a version that included both Van Zandt and Lofgren. The band has been together ever since, and despite the loss of Federici and Clemons, retains a distinctive sound and unparalleled reputation for live shows.
Through various incarnations, the “mighty men and women” of the E Street Band, as Springsteen calls them, have provided a unique and powerful sonic template for Springsteen’s music, combining British invasion guitar-driven rock, the joy of 1950s rock and roll and the drama and dynamics of soul music. They are showmen of the first order, and have more stamina than any rock band in the history of the music.